Houston guard Marcus Sasser (0) looks to pass the ball to guard DeJon Jarreau (3) under pressure from Cincinnati Bearcats guard Jarron Cumberland, right, during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Sunday, March 1, 2020, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)
- Oregon State brings a six-game winning streak into the Midwest Region finals at 7:15 pm ET on Monday
- No. 2 seed Houston seed has won 10 straight games and 20 of its last 22
- Check out the odds, analysis, and betting predictions, below
No. 12 Oregon State (20-12) has won six games in a row and nine of its last 10 entering the Midwest Region final against Houston at 7:15 pm ET on Monday. The Beavers have been the best play in college basketball the last 10 weeks, going 18-3-1 ATS since a 34-point loss to Arizona on Feb. 14.
Houston (27-3) has won 10 straight games and is looking for its first four-win stay in NCAA Tournament since the 1984 team fell to Georgetown in the championship game. Houston, a No. 2 seed that year, had a first-round bye in the 53-team field that season.
Oregon State vs Houston Odds
|Team||Moneyline at DraftKings||Spread||Total|
|Oregon State Beavers||+240||+7.5 (-110)||129.5 (Ov-112)|
|Houston Cougars||-315||-7.5 (-109)||129.5 (Un-108)|
Odds as of March 27.
Oregon State would become the first No. 12 seed to reach the Final Four while continuing a decade-long success of lower tournament seeds. For the ninth time in the last 10 seasons, a team seeded seventh or worse has reached the Elite Eight.
Houston will be the first team in the NCAA Tournament history to play double-digit seeds in its first four games. The Cougars have beaten No. 13 seed Cleveland State, No. 10 Rutgers and No. 11 Syracuse.
Defending the Perimeter
Oregon State and Houston shut down the opponents’ long-range shooters while advancing to the Elite Eight, something the Beavers have done during their recent six-game winning streak and the Cougars have done all season.
Oregon State limited Loyola Chicago to 5 of 23 three-pointers, 21.7%. The Beavers’ three guards — Ethan Thompson, Jarod Lucas and Zach Reichle — have been quick to get out on opposing shooters, and their active matchup zone defense has been a big factor.
The Beavers’ three tournament opponents are 18 of 88 from distance (20.5%). Starting with a three-game sweep in the Pac-12 tournament, Oregon State has held opponents to 23.0% from three-point range.
Oregon State has made 50 three-pointers and is shooting 41.7% from beyond the arc in that same stretch. Lucas has made eight three-pointers, and his three with 1:10 remaining gave the Beavers a 56-49 lead with 1:10 remaining against Loyola Chicago.
Houston limited Syracuse to 28.0% from the field, 21.7% from three-point range, in its 62-46 victory.
The Cougars did it the same way Oregon State, with guards Quentin Grimes and DeJon Jarreau going over screens to stick with the Orange’s outside shooters. Buster Boeheim was 1-of-9 from distance after going 13 of 23 in the first two games.
AAC Player of the Year Grimes, a 6’4 guard, had 14 points against Syracuse after going for 22 points against Rutgers. Jarreau, who played through a hip injury against Rutgers, left the Syracuse game twice because of leg cramps although he still played 34 minutes.
The Cougars lead Division I in defensive field goal percentage, limiting opponents to 37.0%. They are No. 2 in Division I, limiting opponents 57.5 points per game.
Chairmen of the Boards
Houston has a wide rebounding advantage in all three of its tournament victories, and its best work has been done on the offensive end.
The Cougars out-rebounded their first three opponents Cleveland State and Rutgers 117-84, but more telling is their 43-22 edge in offensive rebounds. Those extra possessions have led to 40 second-chance points.
Houston beat Rutgers 63-60 in the second round thanks to Tramon Mark’s decisive offensive rebound and put-back as part of a three-point play to cap a 12-2 run for a 61-60 lead with 24 seconds remaining.
Grimes has nine offensive rebounds in the tournament. The Cougars are third in NCAA Division I with an average of 14.5 offensive rebounds per game.
2021 NCAA Men’s Tournament Championship Odds Tracker
A Long Time Coming
Oregon State made the Elite Eight for the first time since losing to Georgetown in 1982, although those victories later were vacated by the NCAA.
The Beavers have won three games in the tournament for the first time since 1963, when they lost to Cincinnati in the Final Four. The 46-year drought between recognized NCAA Tournament victories was the longest by any major conference team.
Thompson had 22 points against Loyola Chicago and has stepped up as the Beavers’ go-to player. Ethan’s father, Oregon State assistant coach Stevie Thompson, played in four straight NCAA Tournaments for Syracuse (1987-90), going 11-4. The ‘Cuse lost to Indiana 74-73 in the 1987 title game.
The Beavers have set three team tournament team records — 10 3-point field goals against Tennessee, 32 made free throws and 11 blocked shots against. Oklahoma State.
By the Numbers
Houston is third in KenPom’s adjusted efficiency margin and with its defensive effort Saturday is the only team to rank in KenPom’s top eight in both adjusted offensive efficiency and adjusted defensive efficiency.
Oregon State has climbed to 43rd in adjusted efficiency margin, more than cutting their ranking in half since entering the tournament 91st.
All. signs point to Houston and its defense, but it impossible to go against Oregon State at this stage. Buck the Beavers at your own peril.
The pick: Oregon State +7.5 (-110)
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Jack has covered college and professional sports for various Arizona media outlets and has written for the AP, USA Today and Baseball America, among others. He staffed the 2015-17 World Series and has staffed four Super Bowls.